A controversial new bill in Tennessee is looking to shift the burden of keeping pornography away from the eyes of children from parents onto internet service providers by requiring users to actively opt-in if they wish to access pornography via the internet.

HB 2294, titled the “Safer Internet for Minors Act,” was introduced last week by Rep. James Micah Van Huss (R-Jonesborough).

Currently, internet providers allow porn on user devices by default, placing the burden on parents to use various filters and blocking mechanisms to “opt-out” of pornography on their family’s devices.

If made into law, HB 2294 would require internet providers to block porn by default require adult users to follow a series of steps to manually “opt-in.”

The bill requires that such controls impose no additional cost to consumers, but would impose stiff penalties for ISPs found guilty breaking the law.

The bill also requires ISPs to devise online parental controls that “must include a category specific to pornographic content and must block access to any pornographic website or digital content.”

“An internet service provider may include with online parental controls a feature to restrict the amount of time a consumer in this state may access the internet, age-specific websites or digital content categories, or any other feature that allows a parent or legal guardian to control and monitor internet use by a minor,” the bill continues.

Of course, various and sundry pro-pornography detractors debated the bill when it was shared to Facebook by Fox17, touting the fact that free and low-cost services like virtual private networks would allow users to circumvent the blocks. That is entirely beside the point, however, since the point of the bill is to keep pornography away from the eyes of children, not adults who insist on consuming pornography.

As much as we believe pornography is the by-product of sexual exploitation and want to see it universally banned, that is not the intent of this bill and pro-porn complainers seem to misunderstand that.

Some tech experts have called the bill’s potential effectiveness into question.

“There are so many unanswered questions,” Paul Bernal, an Associate Professor in Information Technology and Media Law in the UEA School of Law told Newsweek, noting that not all porn site owners would follow the rules, and many may be based in countries that would brazenly disregard such laws, to say nothing of social media apps and websites that wouldn’t be categorized as pornography but may host adult material nonetheless.

“How do you determine what counts as pornography? How do you ensure that pornographers label themselves as such?” Bernal asked. “How do you stop people finding countermeasures — from VPNs onwards? How do you deal with sites outside your jurisdiction? Do the Tennessee lawmakers expect ISPs to block all foreign sites just in case they contain pornography, or check every site to be sure?”

It is simply mind-boggling that anyone would oppose any measure meant to protect young eyes from pornography, even if it has the potential to not be an airtight solution to the widespread availability of pornography. To think of the obstacle it would post for young children, who are currently able to access pornography to a disturbingly easy degree. This bill acknowledges that pornography does not belong within reach of children, and we applaud Van Huss for it.

In the meantime, since still no state has such a law helping to protect children from pornography, it is always up to us parents to make sure that our children’s eyes are guarded against the easily-accessible smut at the tips of the fingertips of so many.

This article was first published on the Activist Mommy website, and is republished with permission. You may not use, copy, distribute, publish, syndicate, sub-license and transmit the whole or any part of such material in any manner and in any format and/or media without the permission of the original publishers.

Close Menu
×
×

Basket